Area voter turnout encouraging for future elections - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Area voter turnout encouraging for future elections

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Turnout at the polls yesterday was encouraging to many election officials, but changes to the process left some voters scratching their heads.

Randall and Potter county officials say their turnout for yesterday's primary was far more than they anticipated....an achievement they are proud of.

It was much more quiet today in Randall and Potter counties.

In Randall County, around 27,000 people hit the polls, and in Potter, over 25,000 people voted.

An oddity about this primary, more than half of voters voted on the day of.

"Typically in Randall County, 50 percent of the people vote early and 50 percent vote on election day. Well this blew that completely out of the water. It goes back to my original statement of there is no such thing as a typical election," says Randall County Elections Admin Shannon Lackey.

"I think that was part of it, a lot of strategic voting. I want to wait until the last possible moment to see who's still in the race," says WT Political Science Professor Dave Rausch.

And while numbers were great, some voters were confused. Many are not aware the primary election is put on by the Democrat and Republican parties.

In the past if there was a county that didn't have a chair for either party, they simply wouldn't have a primary.

But things have changed.

"Now then the state party can come into a county and be the one that supplies the information and the county will contract with the state to actually conduct a primary," says Lackey.

However unless a representative tells the state, polling locations have no obligation to have either ballot.

"I mean, it's probably not fair, but what is interesting is in most cases in Texas, the election is still run by the same election officials that run your general election, so the election administrators or the tax collector assessor in different counties. So it's really more professionally run," says Rausch.

While it is not official, administrators tell us all signs point to a runoff election, which will take place on May 24th.

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